Thursday, February 25, 2010

Eat Your Way Happy

Add these 3 foods to your diet and you may just boost your mood as well as your health:

1. Chickpeas
Chickpeas contain folate (folic acid), which helps make dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. Other folate-friendly foods include lentils, black-eyed peas and soybeans.

Try making a batch of "Harper's Hummus" and dipping bell peppers (see #3 for how this will provide an extra shot of joy) into it for a snack.

4 cups (about 2½ cans) garbanzo beans (chick peas) rinsed and drained
½ cup tahini paste
1 jalapeno, diced
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 2-3 lemons
4-6 garlic cloves
1½ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon ground cumin
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine chick peas, tahini paste, water, olive oil and juice of 1 lemon in food processor.

Process until smooth and creamy. Add garlic, salt, cumin and pepper to taste.

Blend. Adjust seasonings if desired.

Add juice of another lemon to taste. Blend.

Refrigerate. Enjoy.

Lick the spoon.

2. Avocados
Stress depletes vitamin B6, which helps produce serotonin. Help soothe those stressed-out nerves by adding sliced avacado to salads, sandwiches and wraps. Other B6-rich include fortified whole grain cereals, salmon, and chicken breast.

3. Strawberries
Vitamin C-rich strawberries boost your immune system and fight brain cell damage resulting from constant exposure to cortisol (a stress hormone). Foods like guava, bell peppers and oranges are also high in vitamin C.

Happy eating everyone!


  1. Hey Sister,
    Love it! I'm going to try these.
    Also wanted to mention that lots of experts now agree that low seratonin levels contribute to eating disorders...

  2. Great ideas! I love feasting on this info in the morning because it keeps it at the forefront of my mind. For example, I have to go grocery shopping today and I'm certain those foods will find their way into my basket! :)

    Erin, what do you have to say to just eating something that you really want to eat? For example, I'm totally craving a Vermont recipe that's basically a grilled cheese sandwich with diced apples & syrup over the top of it. I "KNOW" it's ok to do that every once in a while but there's still this thing inside of me that says, I can't trust'll start a slippery sugar slope, (i should patent that phrase :). All the ingredients are healthy as I can afford (homemade whole wheat bread, unorganic apples & cheese, & agave syrup). I think I will enjoy it some time soon...

    Perhaps I'll use strawberries instead of apples! :)

  3. Hummus is good stuff. Avocados are toxic to parakeets so we tend to not have them around here much. I'm allergic to strawberries.

    Well, 1 out of 3 is a start...

  4. Yes, Glennon, yes. thank you for that very important reminder.

    LWL: You're right, I'm going to tell you to eat it and here's why:
    1) if you try and deny yourself a craving/desire that big you will end up consuming WAY more calories trying to satisfy the original craving but nothing else will work so you will keep eating other things in an attempt to try NOT to eat that one thing you are really wanting. And then you will probably eat the yummy vermont recipe anyway. I've done that before and I've always wished I would have just given myself permision to eat what I craved. Less calories in the long-run.

    But prepare the dish, set the table, sit down and ENJOY it. Really pay attention to each delicious bite. Two things will happen if you do that: 1) you will actually TASTE the food, thereby satisfying your craving and 2) you may find you eat less b/c you are really savoring each bite.

    2) in Michael Pollan's 'Food Rules' one of his rules for junk food is that it's okay if you prepare it yourself. He points out that one reason we are overweight is b/c things like fried chicken, french fries, and baked goods are ubiquitous. You can buy them on any corner. BUT, if you were to only eat those foods if you prepared them yourself you might only enjoy them once a month b/c it's so much darn work and time to prepare them.

    Food for thought (yes, pun intented :)

  5. Mmmmm, hummus! I'll have to be careful with this one, since I'm much more likely to dip my index finger in the hummus and eat it, which I'm sure depletes the nutritional value.